It is a statement that possibly every creative writing student has heard and every creative writing teacher has uttered: write what you know. Whether the class is fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, the writing edict remains the same. Students are often told to delve into their past and present experiences to find the basis for their work. For the most part, it would seem that with this advice students have an easier time approaching the task of putting thoughts to paper.
Still, Toni Morrison has other ideas.
In a 2014 interview with Rebecca Gross for NEA Arts Magazine, Morrison explains that one of the first pieces of advice that she gave to her students about “writing what they knew” was “Don’t pay attention to any of that.”
Morrison explained that her students lacked the experience to write what they know, specifically she stated, “First, because…
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